Friday, 3 August 2012

The Oil Cleansing Method

A couple of weeks ago, I was searching the net in desperation to try to find some kind of magic quick fix that would help me clear up my breakout-prone, reactive face skin by the time my wedding rolled around (next Saturday).  I stumbled across an article about the oil cleansing method, a radical (but logical) face cleaning method which many people seem to swear by, and despite my reservations, was just desperate enough to give it a go.

IT WORKED!!!!  I have now been using this method for just over a week now, and my skin has never been better!  I also did a makeup trial run earlier this week, and normally the day after wearing any makeup at all, my skin breaks out terribly, but not a single mark this time!  Perfect clear skin.

The oil recipe I have been using is 20% caster oil to 80% extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), with a couple of drops of tea tree oil for scent and for its antiseptic properties.  According to the last link below, this recipe is the one for 'balanced' skin, although the recipes vary considerably depending on which information source you believe.  I personally found 25% castor oil to be too drying (and I tend to have VERY oily skin), but 20% seems to work beautifully.

There are also some quite involved methods out there for applying the oil, involving using hot face towels to steam your pores open etc, but after a few days I got impatient with these methods and resorted to just using it in the shower as follows.  Also seems to work quite well for the lazy girl's approach!

Lazy Girl's Approach:

  1. In a hot shower, run hot water over your face for 10 seconds or so to heat it up and open pores.
  2. Apply approx 1 tsp of oil mixture to face, and rub in gently but thoroughly.  I usually take 30 seconds to a minute for this step.
  3. Wash the rest of your body, shampoo hair etc, while leaving oil on face.
  4. Last thing before turning water off, use hot water stream and either hands or a face towel to gently clean oil off your face, but don't be too thorough - leaving some oil residue seems to work well for me in preventing dryness and flakiness.
  5. If you want to, finish with a blast of cold water over face to close up your pores (I'm not doing that - too cold in the middle of winter!!)
  6. Gently wipe or pat dry with towel
  7. If your skin is a little dry or flaky, apply a small amount of EVOO as moisturiser - just enough to lightly coat face and rub in to dry patches.  

Tips for trying the Oil Cleansing Method for the first time:

  • Only mix up a very small amount at a time until you figure out what ratios work best for you - and by small amount, I mean that 1 tsp castor oil : 3 tsp EVOO (4 tsp total) was more than enough - had to use up over several days before being able to adjust the recipe!  
  • Your skin will take a few days to adjust to such a radical new cleaning regime, so persevere!!  Don't give up after a couple of days because it's not working!  Give it at least a week is all I can suggest.
  • When starting for the first time, I started out trying a ratio of 1:3 castor oil to EVOO, and adjusted accordingly.  Choose your own starting mixture based on the information in the links below.
  • If you find your skin too dry after cleaning, try using a bit less castor oil in your recipe.  If your skin is a little too oily, try increasing the amount of castor oil.

Further Information:

Simple Homemade's take on the Oil Cleansing Method - some very good tips and points on the method.

Crunchy Betty's lowdown on the Oil Cleansing Method - very good info on the different types of oils you can use and the pros and cons of the method, but perhaps don't believe their starting ratio recipes!

The Oil Cleansing Method - this website does get a bit airy fairy in patches, but the information on the method is very good.  I also found that its oil recipe ratios are much more in line with what I experienced - my ideal ratio seems to be 20% castor oil to 80% EVOO (1 tbsp : 4 tbsp), which is their 'balanced' recipe.